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IOM, USAID Support Strengthening of Sierra Leone Healthcare System

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:56

Freetown – IOM, the UN Migration Agency in Sierra Leone, together with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), last week presided over the graduation ceremony of the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) course designed by the Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN) and funded by USAID.

The objective of this first university-level IPC course in West Africa is to ensure that clinical students receive a government-approved course before they embark on their practical experience. The need for such training was widely acknowledged as a significant constraint when combating the Ebola virus.

From 2014 to 2016, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak weakened the healthcare system in Sierra Leone. As a result of exposure to this disease, 436 of the 3,956 EVD fatalities were healthcare workers, a significant blow to the country’s struggling healthcare workforce while battling other diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid, STIs/HIV/AIDS, respiratory tract infections, Lassa fever, maternal and child mortality, and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

“I strongly encourage this first class of clinical graduates to multiply what you have learned in this course and use it in your everyday work and in all aspects of community life,” said Sanusi Savage, IOM Sierra Leone Head of Office.

As part of the USD 3 million contribution by the US to help strengthen Sierra Leone’s healthcare system, US Ambassador Maria E. Brewer said at the graduation ceremony that her government has contributed to “strengthening the healthcare system and supporting the people of Sierra Leone to protect them from any disease outbreak through preventative measures such as IPC.”

Brewer congratulated the 130 alumni and encouraged them to use this training “to promote simple, but lifesaving health practices” for themselves, their patients and their communities.

“This training has given me the confidence and authority to be an ambassador of infection prevention and control, not only in my community but all of Africa,” declared alumnus Kumba Moiwo.

For more information please contact Florence Kim, IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 78 620 62 13, Email: fkim@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: Sierra LeoneThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

130 clinical students at the graduation ceremony of the first infection prevention and control course in West Africa. Photo: IOM

130 clinical students at the graduation ceremony of the first infection prevention and control course in West Africa. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the East and Horn of Africa Supports Migrant Reintegration in Ethiopia

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:54

Addis Ababa - On 19 and 21 May, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, hosted a consultation with Ethiopian regional Government representatives and local stakeholders to discuss how the Organization’s standard operating procedures on migrant return and reintegration can be best adapted to the national reintegration plans and referral mechanisms.

The consultation was held in the Hadiya and Kembata Tembaro Zone of the Southern, Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), which is prone to irregular migration.

These standard operating procedures clarify procedures related to return and reintegration, including the roles and responsibilities of different actors involved. IOM developed them to ensure that all partners’ and stakeholders’ contributions can be harnessed to ensure sustainable reintegration and that services and support provided to migrants follow similar standards around the world.

IOM’s global Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration vision is that migrants in need are assisted to return voluntarily, safely and in dignity and are supported in achieving sustainable reintegration, in full respect for human rights, regardless of their status. The global Framework is based on the principles of voluntariness, migrant-centred response, safety, sustainability of reintegration, confidentiality, dialogue and partnerships and evidence-based programming.

As national contexts vary, to best support returnees, the global standard operating procedures need to be nationalized.

A key aim of the localization process is to guarantee inclusivity and participation of relevant stakeholders in the reintegration process. Participants in the consultations included the regional state focal persons, Rural Youth Job Creation, the Labor and Social Affairs Bureau, the Bureau of Women and Children Affairs, the Regional Education Bureau, Local Development Agencies and Micro Finance Institutions.

Since June 2017, IOM has helped 1017 Ethiopian migrants return home and the Organization is currently processing reintegration assistance for the first 226 returnees residing in SNNPR. Earlier this month, some 77 returnees received reintegration support in the form of agricultural business development. IOM’s reintegration support is rooted a sustainable community-based approach.

More consultations will be held with Government and local development associations in Oromia, Amhara and Tigray regions in the coming months. 

These consultations are part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, funded by the EU Trust Fund, with close collaboration of 26 African countries. 

For more information, please contact Helina Mengistu at IOM SLO Addis Ababa, Tel: +251 11 557 1550 (Ext 109), Email: hmengistu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

IOM Supports Ghana with Trafficking in Persons Information System Donation

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:53

Accra – IOM, the UN Migration Agency in Ghana donated on 21 May equipment to facilitate the use of the Trafficking in Persons Information System (TIPIS) to the Government of Ghana.

The TIPIS aims to collect aggregate and anonymous reporting on human trafficking from district, regional and national levels, and it provides policy makers with accurate information to guide the national counter-trafficking response. 

IOM is piloting the TIPIS in Volta, Greater Accra and Central regions, although the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) plans to implement the system in additional regions in the future. IOM has already provided training to 155 regional and 10 national focal points in target regions to build their capacity to use the TIPIS effectively.

“We all know that the data collection capacity of government officials on the ground greatly depends on the resources available to them. Beyond the items donated by IOM today, more resources need to be allocated to data collection in the future to ensure an effective use of the TIPIS,” said Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.

Ghana is a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Internal trafficking, especially of children, exists in the country where boys and girls are subjected to forced labour (fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, gold mining and agriculture). Ghanaian men, women and children are also trafficked to other African countries such as Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, the Gambia, Nigeria, and Togo while others are recruited to the United States, the Middle East and Europe for forced labour and sex trafficking.

IOM donated a total of USD 17,831 worth of equipment. This includes computers, printers, uninterruptible power supplies, and modems with internet bundles to allow identified focal points to access the online platform.

“In January of this year, I had the opportunity to view the TIPIS and am now confident that it will address important information gaps in human trafficking trends in Ghana, which will strengthen our collective approach to data collection. It will also aid in our reporting obligations nationally, regionally and internationally,” said the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba.

The handover ceremony was part of a stakeholder meeting chaired by the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection that included a broad range of Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The TIPIS was developed in consultation with representatives from key government stakeholders, particularly the Human Trafficking Secretariat, who also provided key remarks during the discussion.

The TIPIS was developed as part of the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership between the Governments of Ghana and the United States, with funding from the US Department of State’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons. As an implementing partner of the CPC, IOM provides technical support to Government stakeholders responsible for protecting victims of trafficking and prosecuting perpetrators. On 24 April, IOM in partnership with the Governments of Ghana and the US launched the Standard Operating Procedures to Combat Human Trafficking in Ghana, with an emphasis on child trafficking.

For more information please contact Alex Billings at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233 302 742 930, Email: abillings@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, and IOM Ghana Chief of Mission, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, during the stakeholder meeting.

IOM Ghana Chief of Mission, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, hands over TIPIS equipment to the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Launches Nationwide Counter-trafficking Campaign in Hungary

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:47

Budapest – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has launched a campaign to raise awareness and to prevent victimization through human trafficking in Hungary where thousands of people are trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation each year. 

Between 5,000 and 20,000 people are currently victims of sexual exploitation in Hungary, while twice as many are victims of labour exploitation.

The campaign is reaching out with direct preventive messages to vulnerable groups at immediate risk of human trafficking and to the general population living in the most affected areas, which include Baranya, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg and Nógrád counties.  

“It is important to emphasize that the many forms of human trafficking can affect anyone. Contrary to the prevailing misconception, human trafficking in most cases does not start with kidnapping, but with consent obtained through false pretenses,” said Balázs Lehel, Head of IOM’s Office in Hungary.

Nationwide research conducted prior to the campaign activities ascertained a worryingly low level of awareness about human trafficking among the Hungarian population.

“Unfortunately, given the general lack of awareness, it comes as no surprise that our survey revealed that 40 per cent of the respondents would submit an application for a job advertisement that does not even state the name of the advertising company. They would also apply for jobs abroad where foreign language knowledge is not required,” said Lehel.

The survey also found that more than 80 per cent of the respondents believed that one can become a victim of human trafficking solely through violent crime and kidnapping.

Lehel explained IOM findings that victims of both prostitution and forced labour typically put their lives, money and personal documents into the hands of human traffickers, who lure them with false promises of a better life, such as a job offer promising a high salary abroad, or the promise of an unrealistically perfect relationship.

The IOM campaign is targeting audiences in the most affected areas of Hungary through multiple channels such as social media, a dedicated website, awareness raising videos, flyers presenting the most crucial facts about trafficking in human beings in Hungary, and through national roadshows to the areas most affected by human trafficking in Hungary.

“Apart from reaching potential victims, it is also important to raise awareness and promote civic responsibility among the witnesses of the phenomenon in their environment,” Lehel added.

During the roadshow stops, counter-trafficking experts from IOM and the Hungarian Police will visit schools and child-care institutions to raise awareness about the dangers of trafficking as the population living in these areas are most at risk.

IOM in Budapest also launched a poster exhibition about human trafficking for students aged 14 to 18 to stimulate conversation about the phenomenon. The best posters will be featured at the regional roadshow events for the public.

The film Viktoria – A Tale of Grace and Greed, which tells the story of a Hungarian girl who falls victim to trafficking abroad, will also be screened at multiple locations.

A dedicated website has been set up to inform the public about human trafficking and the organizations involved in providing assistance to victims. The website also features personal stories based on the experiences of Hungarian counter-trafficking experts about the many intertwined forms of trafficking present in Hungary, such as sexual and labour exploitation, forced begging and forced crime.

The campaign is supported by funding from the EU and the Hungarian government.   
For more information please contact Balázs Lehel at IOM Budapest, Tel: +36 1 472 2500, Email: iombudapest@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:42Image: Region-Country: HungaryThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM in Hungary Launching its Counter-Trafficking Campaign. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 28,368 in 2018; Deaths Reach 636

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:42

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 28,368 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 143 day days of 2018, with about 38 percent arriving in both Italy and Greece, and almost all the remainder (23%) arriving in Spain, excluding 47 migrants registered as arriving in Cyprus.

This compares with 60,518 arrivals across the region through the same period last year and about 193,333 at this time in 2016.

Also worth noting: in the month of May arrivals to Italy rank third – trailing both Spain and Greece, which recorded nearly two and a half times more arrivals than Italy (see chart below).


IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo noted that the 10,808 migrants who are registered as having by sea to Italy this year represents a 79% decline from levels reported last year in the same period, when 50,524 irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Italy and a 70% decline from the 36,184 arriving to this point in 2016.
Arrivals to Italy through the first three weeks of May are about one-tenth of last year’s May volume, and one-sixth of that of May 2016. (see chart below).


IOM Greece’s Kelly Namia reported Monday that over three days (20-22 May) the Hellenic Coast Guard shared details of two incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The Coast Guard rescued 76 migrants and transferred them to these islands.

Namia reported that besides those 52 who were rescued, another 87 arrived during these days, also landing on Megisti and Kos, bringing to 10,641 the total number of irregular migrants entering Greece via sea since January 1—for an average of around 75 persons per day.

 

Arrivals by sea

 
In Spanish waters so far this year IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday that a total of 2,245 migrants have been rescued on the Western Mediterranean route through 23 days in May – compared with 835 for the entire month of May last year. That brings to 6,872 the total number of men, women and children who have been rescued trying to enter Spain by sea this year (see charts below).

From 1 January 2018 to date, 75 per cent of the migrants (6,872 individuals) are arriving via the sea route; the rest (2,233 individuals) have been detected using the land route to Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s African holdings.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,134 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018. In Europe, the remains of a young migrant were found in a forest near Montgenèvre, along the dangerous route from Italy to France that crosses the Alps.

This was the second body retrieved in this area this month; on 9 May a 21-year-old Nigerian woman was found dead on the Durance River. Also this month, on 21 May, a young Moroccan man drowned in the Kolpa River, on the border between Croatia and Slovenia. His body was recovered by Slovenian authorities, and the circumstances of his death are being investigated. This is the seventh drowning recorded in this river since the beginning of 2018.
There were several other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Tuesday’s update. In Turkey, a migrant from Afghanistan died on 22 May in a vehicle accident in Bayramli, Van province, near the border with Greece. Approximately 70 other people were also travelling in the back of the truck and survived.
In Mexico, a 42-year-old Guatemalan man was shot and killed in the Mexican state of Oaxaca when the truck in which he was travelling with at least 100 other Central American migrants was ambushed by armed criminals, also on 22 May.
Last weekend, seven children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo drowned in Lake Mweru, on the border between Zambia and the DRC. These lives were lost in this tragic and disastrous accident on 19 May.
In addition, the Missing Migrants Project recorded two deaths on the US-Mexico border. A 37-year-old man from Nuevo León, Mexico was found dead on the border of Chihuahua and Texas last week. On 23 May, a woman was killed after crossing the Mexico-US border into Webb Country, Texas. Her identity remains unknown.
Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email: izakoska@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya. Tel: +216 29 240 448 Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 Ext 109, Email: mchabbi@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

IOM Helps Saint Lucia Build Capacity to Address Human Trafficking

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:42

Castries – This week (21/05) in Saint Lucia, more than 50 health and service providers gathered to hone their skills to prevent and respond to human trafficking. While information on the phenomenon in Saint Lucia is limited, authorities are working to identify and support victims, and to raise awareness about this crime.

Saint Lucia is a 617-square kilometre island state in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Like any other country in the world, the island is affected by trafficking in persons, which involves criminal groups deceiving and coercing men, women, and children into sexual exploitation and forced labour.

“Sensitizing and training frontline partners, like health professionals, diplomatic personnel, and civil society is a necessary first step to being able to find people who need help,” said Rosilyne Borland, IOM Senior Regional Thematic Specialist.

The events were part of an ongoing project supported by IOM, the UN Migration Agency through its Development Fund (IDF), and correspond to the counter-trafficking efforts of the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security of Saint Lucia.

The project supports a series of training workshops with crucial front-line officials on identification, referral, and protection of victims of trafficking. It also aims to deliver an operational database to manage and process trafficking cases, and a full-scale national campaign to raise awareness about trafficking in persons.

The activities this week also aimed to raise awareness of different forms of trafficking and to identify ways in which the authorities and civil society organizations can work together to prevent trafficking, identify victims and provide victim support. From 9 to 13 April, two previous workshops took place in Saint Lucia under the same project, including Saint Lucia diplomats based in the UK, US, Cuba and Martinique.

The training sessions are contributing to a better understanding of essentials of human trafficking. It will further enhance knowledge of and improve the coordination of service providers and government Ministries and Departments that are part of the National Task Force in the country.

“We hope that the training will promote awareness about trafficking in persons in the Island and service providers will be able to identify and refer cases of human trafficking in Saint Lucia,” said Robert Natiello, IOM Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean and Chief of Mission in Guyana.

For more information please contact Robert Natiello at IOM Guyana, Tel: +592 231 6533. Email: rnatiello@iom.int or Jorge Gallo, at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean at Tel: +506 22125300, Email:  jgallo@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:22Image: Region-Country: Saint LuciaThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

The project supports workshops for crucial front-line officials on identification, referral, and protection of victims of trafficking. Photo: IOM

The project aims to deliver an operational database to manage and process trafficking cases. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

IOM Boxer Punches Up Interest in 2018 Global Migration Film Festival

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:40

Geneva – With preparations beginning for the UN Migration Agency’s third annual Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) to take place in December this year, IOM senior spokesperson Joel Millman this week decided to take matters in hand and work to raise interest – and over USD 1,200 in targeted funding – for the event.

In fact, he worked with both hands – in a boxing ring.

On Thursday, 24 May, Millman joined more than a dozen male and female amateur boxers in a gala event staged at Geneva’s Starling Hotel, where he met his opponent, Bertrand Bricheux, a Swiss boxer who works for a money-management firm. The event, titled White Collar Boxing Switzerland, attracted more than 300 fight fans to raise money for a variety of charities. Combatants each were urged to select a Geneva-based charity of their own to sponsor. Millman selected IOM’s 2018 Global Migration Film Festival.

“It was kind of a no brainer,” the IOM boxer explained. “We all work so hard for months getting this festival into shape. So it made sense to add the months of boxing training to the timeline.”

To raise interest in the festival, Millman worked with his IOM Media and Communications team to produce a video demonstrating his preparation for the 24 May bout, together with instructions on how IOM staff, and boxing fans everywhere, could make donations to the GMFF via an IOM website. Funds were collected via the www.usaforiom.org home page, allowing donors who are also US income tax payers to claim a charitable deduction on their 2018 returns next year.

The video received hundreds of visits in its first few days, and helped raise over USD 1,000 for the GMFF during the opening week of the campaign. USA for IOM will accept donations through the end of the month. To view the video, click here

IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival was launched in 2016 and has been enjoyed by thousands worldwide. Besides gala screenings in Geneva and New York, in 2017 more than 90 IOM missions in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas hosted local versions of the GMFF screening films produced by film-makers where the missions are located, in some places quite creatively. In Niger, the IOM Mission produced a veritable caravanserai of migration film screenings, hosting events across a 3,000 square kilometre region, including several in migrant transit camps.

Plans already are underway for missions in over 100 locations to add their special magic to the film festival, which attracts short films, features, documentaries and works of animation. Attention to details like securing screening rights and being mindful of what missions worldwide do is a battle as unrelenting as anything seen in a boxing ring.

Expenses can mount quickly, which is one reason IOM co-workers felt gratified by Millman’s efforts.

“I was so pleased my colleague decided to take this initiative to support the 2018 Global Migration Film Festival. He’s been boxing a long time and knows what he’s doing,” said Amanda Nero, the GMFF’s director, who this week was working in her native Brazil. “I used to call him gordinho, which means ‘fatty’ in Portuguese. But no more.”

Nero added her colleague has a new nickname: farofa, Portuguese for the manioc flour Brazilians enjoy as a garnish on traditional rice-and-black bean stews.

Migrants figured prominently in the action Thursday night. Among the white-collar combatants were migrants from Canada, Albania, Colombia, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, Sweden, Iraqi Kurdistan and the USA. “For me it’s about the movement, and freedom,” said Reshaw Palinuro, a former refugee from Iraq who lives today in Stockholm. “I love teaching children, especially girls, that they can be strong and stand up for themselves."

Ms. Palinuro boxed Julie Gauthier, a Canadian who works for a Swiss wealth-management firm, who won a close decision in the night's final bout.

As for the bout IOM’s staffer participated in, it also went the full three rounds, with the IOM fighter being awarded second place. "In other words, I lost," Mr. Millman explained with a weary, but relieved, grin upon descending the ring. "But I was glad for the chance to box one more time at my advanced age, and to do something that helps the Global Migration Film Festival. It was a great effort by all."

For more information please contact Amanda Nero, Global Migration Film Festival, Tel: +41 22 717 9482 Email: anero@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM's resident pugilist Joel Millman boxing for charity in Geneva. Photo: Natalie Oren 

IOM's resident pugilist Joel Millman boxing for charity in Geneva. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

IOM, WHO, DR Congo Ministry of Health Partner to Stop Ebola from Spreading to Kinshasa, Neighbouring Countries

IOM - News - Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:21

Kinshasa – Last week, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), cases of Ebola were confirmed in Mbandaka, a city with a population of 1.2 million people some 150 kilometres from where the outbreak originated in Bikoro Health Zone, Equateur Province.

The fact that Mbandaka is connected by river routes to DRC’s capital Kinshasa as well as cities in the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, has fuelled concerns that the disease could spread more widely.

In order to mitigate this risk, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the DRC Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted this week joint assessments at various points of entry to the capital to gauge the strength of the area's epidemiological surveillance system. The assessment focused on migration routes from the affected province of Equateur through the ports of Maluku and Kinkole on the Congo River and at the Beach Ngobila in the capital Kinshasa.

The assessment team found boats in the ports, which often travel between Kinshasa and the Equateur Province, stopping at several ports and carrying a few hundred people at a time. Sanitary conditions were very poor and health screenings non-existent at these ports.

One boat captain told IOM that his “boat carries hundreds of passengers to different localities along the Congo river from Kinshasa, Kisangani through Mbandaka.” He added “I often bring people from Mbandaka and Bikoro (epi-centre of the outbreak) with hunting meat for sale.”

These assessments, carried out with the National Border Health Program, enabled response teams to immediately identify practical measures to strengthen health surveillance around the capital city.

These include training, equipping and deploying response teams to the river ports, whilst carrying out community mobilisation activities in villages upstream on the Congo River.

“There is a need to ensure that there are strong health screening, hygiene and sanitation measures in place in this environment where there is high risk for transmission” said Jean Philippe Chauzy, IOM’s Chief of Mission in the DRC. “These ports do not meet international standards for boarding and disembarking and the lack of effective surveillance could lead to Ebola cases being found in Kinshasa," added Chauzy.

“It is important that ports in Kinshasa are included in preparedness efforts. Kinshasa is connected to Mbandaka and Bikoro through the Congo River – and Lake Tumba for Bikoro. From Kinshasa, travelers can reach any place in the world. Kinshasa is a home of more than 60 private and small ports along way Congo river. Travel and trade of cities along the Congo, Kasai and Ubangi rivers are intense. Strengthening public health capacities for early detection and response to Ebola, as well as other infectious diseases, is important in points of connection such as these two ports,” said Dr. Teresa Zakaria from the WHO surge team.

As of 22 May 2018, three health zones in the Equateur Province were affected, including Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata, with 58 cases including 27 deaths.

Since the beginning of the outbreak declaration, IOM has been conducting Population Mobility Mapping at the border points and in the affected areas to quantity and gather information on population movement.

IOM is also supporting the deployment of a team of epidemiologists, veterinarians, and hygiene specialists from the Ministry of Health to affected areas and nearby border areas. These teams are currently conducting health screenings and risk communication activities, while also putting in placs infection prevention and control measures at 16 key point of ntry to Equateur, Mai-Ndombe and Kinshasa.

IOM is appealing to donors USD 1.3 million to continue and expand its reponse to the Ebola outbreak.

For more information, please contact:
Jean-Philippe Chauzy, Tel: +243 827339827, Email:jpchauzy@iom.int
Mamadou Ngom, Tel: + 243 815087980, Email:mngom@iom.int
Aki Yoshino, Tel: +243 810325533, Email:ayoshino@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

There are concerns that Ebola could spread more widely without proper health screenings at Congo River ports. Photo: IOM

There are concerns that Ebola could spread more widely without proper health screenings at Congo River ports. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

IOM, Partners to Assist Business Leaders in Combatting Human Trafficking

IOM - News - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 04:40

London – The Interactive Map for Business of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives and Organisations was launched yesterday (22/05) at the British Telecom Centre in London.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, as part of the RESPECT Initiative, joined the Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking (GBCAT), and the United Nations Global Compact through its Action Platform on Decent Work in Global Supply Chains organizations in launching this platform.

The Map is designed as a knowledge-sharing hub for countering human trafficking and will provide companies and other stakeholders with a global list of initiatives that can help them combat this abuse in their operations and supply chains.

IOM has an ongoing relationship with private sector leaders to address human trafficking. In 2017, the Organization partnered with the Global Initiative against transnational organized crime (GI) and Babson College’s Initiative on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery to form the Responsible and Ethical Private Sector Coalition against Trafficking (RESPECT).

The launch event included a keynote speech by Baroness Philippa Stroud. IOM was represented by Sarah Di Giglio, IOM UK.

“In our globalized economy, the demand for cheap labour and services is what is driving human trafficking. Yet, the responsibility of the industries and consumers demanding cheap labour and cheap goods often goes unrecognized,” said Di Giglio. “Until we, the global community, address this demand and recognize that goods are sold cheaply because of the exploitation of workers including migrant workers, our efforts to end human trafficking will be wholly inadequate,” she added.

As a unified resource of information, the Interactive Map includes a repository of best practices and a stakeholder mapping report to serve as a primary resource for businesses engaged in combating human trafficking and forced labour.

Since 1994, IOM has worked extensively to combat human trafficking. For the past 14 years, the Organization has implemented more than 2,600 projects in over 150 countries and has assisted tens of thousands of trafficked persons.

To learn more about the Interactive Map, please visit: http://www.spumma.com/modernslaverymap/

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email: jgalindo@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 10:37Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

The Interactive Map report gives an overview on the current stakeholder landscape on human trafficking. Photo: Modernslaverymap.org

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Bahrain Launches MENA Region’s First Government Assistance Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking

IOM - News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 08:39

Manama – In a historic and unprecedented development in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), the Government of Bahrain has established the first assistance fund for victims of human trafficking.

Approved by the Executive Committee chaired by His Royal Highness Crown Prince of Bahrain and endorsed by Cabinet of Ministers on 30 April 2018, the fund covers the costs of essential services for victims, such as temporary allowances that serve as financial protection schemes in-between court proceedings. It also provides a grant that victims of trafficking may use for reintegration in their country of origin or to support their re-employment in Bahrain.

Noting that two victims of trafficking have already benefitted from the fund, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) has commended the Government of Bahrain for setting it up. “The Government of Bahrain has raised the bar for the standards of victim protection in the region,” said Mohamed El Zarkani, IOM Bahrain Officer in Charge. He explained that assistance funds are essentially an advanced victim-centred mechanism prioritizing the protection of victims even beyond the borders of the funding state.

El Zarkani added that “IOM is proud of its partnership with Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA). This partnership allows us to share best practices of victim assistance funds from other regions and explore together how they can be best applied in Bahrain’s context. IOM will continue to work closely with LMRA to ensure that services provided by the assistance fund remains relevant and up to date, considering the ever-changing nature of the crime and consequently the evolving needs of the victims.”

Ausamah Al Absi, Chief Executive Officer of LMRA, emphasised how the introduction of the fund reflected the Government’s acute awareness of the harm inflicted by human trafficking on victims, and the priority it assigned to countermeasure it: “The victims’ assistance fund is another step in our 360 approach to combat trafficking by assisting victims rebuild their lives while ensuring the judicial process punishes the traffickers. It is, as well, a fulfilment of Bahrain’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring that no one is left behind,” said Al Absi.

IOM and LMRA have been working together for years in developing standard operating procedures for the protection and assistance of victims of trafficking. IOM has trained LMRA staff and first responders to that effect. Special focus of this joint effort has been the enhancement of services provided through Bahrain’s shelter, including legal aid, medical assistance, psychosocial support, food and temporary accommodation, as well as reintegration assistance.

For more information please contact Mohamed El Zarkani at IOM Bahrain, Tel: +973 351 66 215, Email: melzarkani@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 14:27Image: Region-Country: BahrainThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

The Expat Protection Centre in Manama, Bahrain. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 27,482 in 2018; Deaths Reach 636

IOM - News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 08:39

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 27,482 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 20 weeks of 2018, with about 38 per cent arriving in both Italy and Greece, with the remainder (23%) arriving in Spain.

This compares with 58,921 arrivals across the region through the same period last year and about 190,977 at this time in 2016.

In other words: Mediterranean arrivals at this point in 2018 are running at under half last year’s level on this date, and less than 15 per cent of 2016’s volume at this point in the year.

Also worth noting: in the month of May arrivals to Italy rank third – trailing both Spain and Greece, which recorded nearly two and a half times more arrivals than Italy (see chart below).

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo noted that the 10,659 migrants who are registered as having arrived by sea to Italy this year is an amount over 78 per cent less than that reported last year in the same period, when 49,060 irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Italy and a 67 per cent decline from the 32,292 arriving to this point in 2016.

Arrivals to Italy through the first three weeks of May are about one-tenth of last year’s May volume, and one-sixth of that of May 2016 (see chart below).

Last year’s May total nearly doubled over the last 10 days of the month, from 11,825 to 22,993 arrivals – for an average of 1,000 irregular migrants arriving per day during the final third of the month. Most of those migrants left from Libya. The previous year (2016) witnessed a similar phenomenon, with over 14,000 men, women and children entering Italy by sea over the month’s final 10 days.          

It appears unlikely such arrival numbers will be duplicated this month, although sudden surges have happened in the past. This is, in part, because IOM continues to return migrants from Libya to their home countries under its Voluntary Humanitarian Returns (VHR) programme which has flown home 26,383 men women and children to 30 countries since the start of 2017.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Monday that on 17 May, IOM assisted 140 migrants in returning home to Niger, Egypt and Mali on one chartered and two commercial flights. Among the migrants were four medical cases and three unaccompanied migrant children. IOM Libya has assisted 13,252 to leave Libya by air since the scale-up phase of this programme began on 28 November last year. Those 13,252 departures are part of the overall total of 26,383 migrants who have returned from Libya with IOM’s assistance since 1 January 2017.

IOM Greece’s Kelly Namia reported Monday that over four days (16-19 May) the Hellenic Coast Guard shared details of four incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Lesvos, Samos and Rhodes. The Coast Guard rescued 52 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

Namia reported that besides those 52 who were rescued, another 410 migrants arrived during the four days, landing in Samos, Chios, Kos and Rhodes and bringing to 10,478 the total number of irregular migrants entering Greece via sea since 1 January – for an average of around 79 persons per day.

April saw 3,083 migrant arrivals via the Eastern Mediterranean. Through the first 19 days of May nearly that number (2,917) have arrived, or an average of over 150 per day (see charts below).

Ivona Zakosa-Todorovska,following the increase in arrivals through the Eastern Mediterranean route,  with estimated 12,604  land and sea arrivals reported to Greece (12,161) and Bulgaria (443), notes IOM's DTM unit in the region is recording a 35% increase compared to 8,951 reported in the same period 2017. She added that an intensified migration flow has been observed in several transit countries along the Western Balkans route.  

In the first two weeks of May 2018, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania apprehended more than 2,300 irregular migrants bringing the total to 6,098 men, women and children apprehended since the beginning of the year. This represents a tenfold increase in apprehensions compared to the same January to mid-ay 2017 period, when 578 irregular migrants had been intercepted in the countries concerned (217 apprehended just in May 2017). One third of all registered irregular migrants in the countries on this route were of Syrian origin (2,046) followed by those arriving from Pakistan (16%), Afghanistan (8%), Iraq (7%) and Libya (7%)  Moroccan nationals comprised additional 6% of the overall caseload, same as those arriving from Iran (6%) while 240 Algerian nationals comprised another 4% of the overall population.

In Spanish waters, so far this year IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that a total of 1,671 migrants have been rescued on the Western Mediterranean route through 20 days in May – compared with 835 for the entire month of May last year. That brings to 6,298 the total number of men, women and children have been rescued trying to enter Spain by sea this year (see charts below). 

To date, 75 per cent of the arrivals to Spain were registered by sea route and the rest 25 per cent of arrivals were registered by land route (to Ceuta and Melilla).

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,120 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018. In the Mediterranean alone, 636 migrants are estimated to have died this year. The MMP team was able to confirm last week that on 12 May, the body of an Eritrean man was retrieved by the Libyan Coast Guard during a rescue operation off the coast of Al Khums, Libya.

In Europe, a two year-old migrant girl, thought to be Kurdish, was discovered dead on 17 May in a van intercepted by police on the E42 highway, near Mons, Belgium.

Global Migrant Deaths
Jan 1 – May 20
(Source: Missing Migrants Project)

REGION

2018

2017

Mediterranean

636

1,524

Europe

21

22

Middle East

52

35

North Africa

35

252

Horn of Africa

62

103

Sub-Saharan Africa

73

40

Central Asia

52

-

Southeast Asia

46

45

South Asia

4

1

East Asia

3

-

North America

-

-

US/Mexico border

80

114

Central America

27

32

Caribbean

19

92

South America

10

-

TOTAL

1,120

2,260

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email: izakoska@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya. Tel. +216 29 240 448 Email : chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile +216 28 78 78 05, Tel:  +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Email: mchabbi@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 14:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Facing Complex and Evolving Migration Patterns Across South-eastern, Eastern Europe and Central Asia

IOM - News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 08:38

Vienna – Global migration dynamics are becoming ever more complex, and nowhere is this truer than in the region encompassed by IOM’s Vienna Regional Office: South-eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

The region is host to almost 5.5 million conflict-displaced, either in massive concentrations such as the 3.9 million refugees and people under temporary protection in Turkey, the 1.5 million displaced in Ukraine, or in smaller groups scattered through the western Balkans and South Caucasus.

New migration routes are emerging, across the Black Sea from Turkey, or via the steep mountains of Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia. Frozen conflicts, simmering tensions which increase xenophobia and violent extremism all heighten the prevailing sense of unease and uncertainty.

A further 30 million people are on the move as labour migrants. This 2015 estimate is likely to be higher, with recent flows from Ukraine and Georgia into nearby EU countries, as well as the millions attracted from across Central Asia to the growing Kazakh economy, and the millions more who move to the Russian Federation from other ex-Soviet states. Additionally, climate change is being cited as a factor in neighbouring conflict zones, prolonged droughts, severe winters and flooding.

The challenges posed to migration management, including border security, human trafficking, human health and the ever-present possibility of a repeat of the “migration crisis” of 2015 were on the table when senior IOM managers and Chiefs of Mission from across the region gathered in Austria last week.

“We are indeed seeing more complex patterns of mobility over this huge and diverse region,” noted Regional Director Argentina Szabados, reflecting on the three-day retreat. “There are definitely many positives, such as the increased remittances that help to drive development, and the good work being done on stability and inclusiveness. We want to see these increase, but at the same time we want to help our member states face the evolving challenges posed by migration. Above all, we want to end the appalling suffering of migrants who are smuggled by cynical criminal gangs, as well as the misery faced by men, women and children trafficked for sexual or labour abuse.”

Szabados noted that IOM in the region has a long and growing list of priorities across the whole migration spectrum. She expressed her hope that the Global Compact for Migration, which will be adopted later this year, will provide clarity and direction for the global community and that IOM will be able to play its part in achieving migration for the benefit of all.

“We are taking the lead in many areas, but we need to continue to diversify and think out of the box,” she said. “We are already building development into our emergency programmes in this region, looking at new institutional and national partners, increasing our credibility through new links with academia, and as the newest United Nations Agency, we are developing new and fruitful partnerships with our sister UN Organizations and other Vienna-based international organizations.”

For further information please contact Joe Lowry, IOM Regional Office for South-eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, Tel: +436603776404, Email: jlowry@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 14:33Image: Region-Country: AustriaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Syrian refugee children get ready for class at a multi-service centre supported by IOM in Turkey. Photo: M.Mohammed/IOM

Since the beginning of the crisis, IOM has provided aid to over 100,000 vulnerable displaced persons and conflict-affected people across the Ukraine. Photo: V.Shuvayev/IOM

Senior managers and Chiefs of Mission from IOM’s Vienna Regional Office covering Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

“See a child begging? Call the police!” UN Migration Agency Calls on Ukrainians to Fight Child Exploitation

IOM - News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 08:38

Kyiv – We see them in the metro. We see them in pedestrian tunnels. We see them in the streets. Every day we see begging children, but usually we just ignore them.

To call on Ukrainians to see the reality in which these children are living, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the international media arts competition Kyiv Lights Festival joined their efforts. This weekend (18-20 May), in the framework of the festival, a thematic art installation was displayed in the heart of Kyiv, on Mykhailivska square.

“Those people who are actually behind the children begging in the streets stay hidden and might be invisible at first,” said Thomas Lothar Weiss, Chief of the IOM Mission in Ukraine. According to the UN Migration Agency, more than one-fourth of victims of child trafficking in Ukraine were forced to beg. “It means that the children will not get those donations. It means that they could be beaten, threatened or forced to beg money that would go to criminals,” said Weiss.

IOM’s installation was represented by a large black cube, with a small hole in the middle of one side, looking through which one can see the silhouette of a begging child. However, having made a flash photo on their mobile device, the passers-by were able to see the situation in a different light – it became obvious that the child was under the vigilant supervision of the exploiter. Brief information about child begging problem was also provided, as well as the suggested algorithm of actions when identifying a begging child, and main resources of counter-trafficking information for Ukraine.

“If you see a child begging alone or accompanied by an adult, call the police, tell about the incident, describe the child and accompanying adult. Wait for the police if you can,” Weiss said. “Your money will not help these children, but only enrich those who steal their childhood!”

The installation was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and from Global Affairs Canada. It became a part of the IOM trafficking prevention campaign Danger Might be Invisible at First, supported by the Ukrainian singer and winner of Eurovision 2016, Jamala, who is the counter-trafficking Goodwill Ambassador for the IOM Mission in Ukraine.

Ukraine is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking in men, women and children. According to a research commissioned by IOM, over 230,000 Ukrainians became victims to human trafficking since 1991. The IOM Mission in Ukraine provided comprehensive reintegration assistance to over 14,000 victims of trafficking since the year 2000.

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine. Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, +38 067 447 97 92, Email: vzhluktenko@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 14:36Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

People taking photos as part of IOM’s interactive counter-trafficking installation in the heart of Kyiv. Photo: IOM/V.Shuvayev

People taking photos as part of IOM’s interactive counter-trafficking installation in the heart of Kyiv. Photo: IOM/V.Shuvayev

What's inside IOM’s interactive counter-trafficking installation. Photo: IOM/V.Shuvayev

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Canal to Protect Bangladeshi Villagers, Rohingya Refugees from Monsoon Flooding

IOM - News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 08:36

Cox’s Bazar – A major canal dredging and renovation project is underway to protect local residents and refugees in southern Bangladesh from impending monsoon floods. The project is one of several initiated by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to safeguard hundreds of thousands of people in Cox’s Bazar ahead of heavy monsoon rains and the cyclone season.

Over nine kilometres of abandoned canals are currently being dredged and renovated in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya sub-district to prevent flooding and allow water runoff during heavy rains in the region, which is prone to some of the heaviest monsoon downpours in Bangladesh.

IOM has employed 50 labourers from the Ukhiya village of Hakimpara to carry out the work, which is part of a wider disaster preparedness programme supported by IOM.

The project will not only help safeguard lives and livelihoods in Hakimpara and neighbouring Jamtoli when the monsoon hits, reducing the risk of flooding. It will also provide an opportunity to boost local agriculture.

In previous years, flooding from the blocked canals damaged or destroyed up to 70 acres of rice paddy, according to local community leaders.  Once cleared, the canals will also provide irrigation during the dry season, they say.

“There was no water flow in the canal, as it hadn’t been maintained for years. This resulted in flooding in the surrounding communities during the monsoon as the rainwater coming down from the adjacent hills couldn’t flow through,” said Damon Elsworth, IOM’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Operation Officer.

The hilly district of Cox’s Bazar was already prone to landslides and flooding even before the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar. The refugees – desperate to find places to build shelters for their families – cleared vegetation from surrounding hills, resulting in soil erosion.

Almost 700,000 refugees have arrived in Cox’s Bazar since late August 2017, putting a major strain on local infrastructure. Most of the new arrivals live in desperately over-crowded conditions on the cleared slopes, which are now at ever greater risk of landslides and collapse during heavy rain.

The USD 20,000 canal clearing project, funded by the US (PRM), Canada and ECHO, is being carried out as part of the Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP) – an interagency project involving IOM, WFP and UNHCR.

SMEP aims to tackle a range of monsoon risks. Prepositioned machinery in ten sites across the district will tackle clear roads and waterways if landslides and floods block key access routes. SMEP engineers, local workers and refugees are also preparing safer land to relocate refugees from the most dangerous parts of the camps.

Local residents working on the canal clearing project said they felt happy to be working to protect their community. “It feels good that we were consulted at every step of this dredging work. It feels like it is our property that we’re working for,” said Syed Kashem, 65, a local community leader overseeing the dredging work.

Cox’s Bazar has already experienced the first rains of the season. IOM and other agencies are working to support the Government of Bangladesh to respond to a wide range of potential emergency situations. Roads, pathways, bridges and drains have been built and land has been stabilized over the past months to help keep access routes open.

IOM has also established Para Development Committees (PDCs) – community groups, each comprised of six refugees and five members of the host community – in Teknaf sub-district, south of Ukhiya, where Rohingya refugees mostly live among the local community. To date IOM, working with the PDCs, has supported 24 quick-impact projects in the area. They include building bridges, access roads, steps, drains, and slope protection work that will enable communities to better weather the monsoon.

IOM is also stockpiling emergency aid including tarpaulins, bamboo, food, water and medical supplies at its new Hnilla, Teknaf logistics hub, funded by the Saudi aid agency KSrelief. This will ensure that the most urgent needs of both the refugee and host communities can be met, even if the weather makes access difficult.

Local community members in Cox’s Bazar have also been trained in first aid, search and rescue, and fire safety to tackle any disaster, including cyclones and heavy rains. Volunteer groups have been created and provided with tools to work alongside aid agencies in disaster preparedness and emergency response.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Tel. +88 0 1733 335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 14:39Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Local labourers work on a section of the canal in Hakimpara. Photo: IOM 2018.

Sandbags shore up a section of the canal to improve drainage and irrigation. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency, DR Congo Government Enhance Ebola Screenings at Border-crossings

IOM - News - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 10:08

Kinshasa – Tomorrow (19/05), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is supporting the deployment of teams of epidemiologists and medical staff from the Ministry of Health and the National Programme of Hygiene at Borders (PNHF) in Kinshasa to 16 points of entry along the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) borders. This deployment is part of an effort to prevent and control the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC, supporting the World Health Organization (WHO).

The DRC Ministry of Health, who are leading the response, announced an outbreak in the Equateur Province on 8 May. In recent days, Ebola cases have been confirmed in larger urban areas, making the risk of the disease spreading further even greater, due to heavier density of population and higher population mobility. 

The essential deployment of these border health officials was made possible through USD 75,000 reallocation of funds from the Government of Japan and a release of internal emergency funds totalling USD 100,000. Border health officials will set up infection prevention and control measures at priority border crossings, travel routes and congregation points. A referral mechanism is being developed and will be used to help sick travellers. IOM and partners will also communicate about health risks at border crossings to ensure travellers take precautions against the disease.

IOM also plans to monitor flows at major border crossing points and key congregation points to quantify cross-border and internal movements, and obtain the demographic and movement profiles of travellers. In addition, IOM will assist the facilitation of cross-border coordination and information sharing with neighbouring countries to ensure surveillance and operational readiness for early detection, investigation and response to potential cases of Ebola.

IOM hopes to carry out population mobility mapping of the Bikoro Health Zone, neighbouring Health Zones and the whole Equateur Province to help the humanitarian community know which locations are the busiest points that people travel through and should have health measures strengthened, including risk communication, health screenings and setting up of infection prevention and control measures, among others.

“Helping combat the spread of Ebola over international borders will only be possible with further funding from donors,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission. “Although Equateur is not affected by the country’s ongoing conflict, our teams and resources in DRC are stretched: responding to humanitarian needs as a result of both the conflict and the Ebola outbreak, while our work in the DRC remains one of IOM’s most underfunded operations. This is not the first time the DRC has experienced an Ebola outbreak. The country has proven experience in containing it and the humanitarian community has learned from previous responses. So, with enhanced support, we have a real chance to stop Ebola in its tracks in DRC,” added Chauzy.

IOM is appealing to donors for USD 1,000,000 to carry out population mobility mapping and cross-border coordination and support surveillance, health screening, risk communications and infection prevention and control activities at key border areas.

IOM is an active global health security partner in DRC, working closely with the Ministry of Health and WHO to set an international health regulation strategy in place and help implement it at the national and local levels.

Currently in Burundi and DRC, IOM is working on reinforcement of cross border coordination through development of joint contingency plans, while building community capacity to ensure they are ready to handle health emergencies.

For more information, please contact IOM DRC:
Jean-Philippe Chauzy, Tel: +243 827339827, Email: jpchauzy@iom.int
Mamadou Ngom, Tel: + 243 815087980, Email: mngom@iom.int
Aki Yoshino, Tel: +243 810325533, Email: ayoshino@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 - 16:04Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is supporting the DR Congo government to respond to the recent outbreak of Ebola. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Grass Planting Reduces Soil Erosion, Risk of Landslides in Rohingya Refugee Camps

IOM - News - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 10:08

Cox’s Bazar – Over two million vetiver grass plants have been distributed by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the past two weeks to reduce soil erosion and the risk of landslides in southern Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps, where hundreds of thousands of people are at risk from impending monsoon rains.

A further two million plants will be given to local and international NGOs for distribution before the end of May, following the initial success of the project, which has local vetiver suppliers struggling to keep up with demand.

The grass costs just over USD 1.50 for a bundle of 200 plants. But the project, which in total could help stabilize land equivalent to almost 150 football fields, is expected to have a significant impact on improving living conditions in the hillside camps and will help to prevent life-threatening soil erosion.

Violence in Myanmar has sent almost 700,000 people fleeing over the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, since last August. The new arrivals, desperate for space to build shelters for their families, cleared the vegetation from vast swathes of the region, leaving them living on bare, sandy slopes extremely vulnerable to landslides during the monsoon and cyclone seasons.

Around 200,000 people have been recognised as being at high risk from landslides and floods in the coming monsoon months, and the entire refugee population is extremely vulnerable to related dangers, including restricted access to vital services and waterborne diseases. While grass alone is not sufficient to stabilize the steepest slopes, the vetiver plants offer an opportunity to protect large areas of the camps from erosion.

As well as providing a grass delivery pipeline for partner agencies across the camps, IOM has directly planted 2,750 bundlesthrough cash for work programmes with Rohingya refugees and members of local host communities.

IOM has also produced a series of simple illustrations to help the refugees, many of whom are illiterate, to understand how best to plant and care for the plants.

“We drew on Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology studies to learn lessons from other projects involving vetiver grass and apply them here. The illustrations helped share that knowledge with people in a very practical way,” said IOM Site Development Coordinator Megan Genat.

The newly planted vetiver requires watering twice a day and community volunteers, participants in cash for work projects, and individual refugee families have all been enthusiastically caring for the freshly planted grass in different parts of the camps.

“It’s been really encouraging to see everyone getting involved. The project has also helped in raising public awareness of the risks of soil erosion. We will be following up with a fuller analysis of the impact next month, but initial reports from our partners indicate it has been going very well and is proving popular with the refugee community,” added Genat.

The Cox’s Bazar district, which is now sheltering almost a million Rohingya refugees, is prone to some of the heaviest monsoon conditions in the entire country, and is also vulnerable to cyclones from the Bay of Bengal. The monsoon proper is due to hit next month, but early rains and storms have already damaged scores of shelters and caused several small landslides in the camps.

The vetiver project is one of a wide range of practical initiatives that IOM site management teams are working on to help safeguard people and improve living conditions ahead of the monsoon.

“Across the camps we are constructing roads and access routes, improving drainage, building bridges, and preparing ground before the rains hit. We are also working with other agencies and the Bangladesh authorities to support resilience and disaster preparedness training for refugees and the host community, so we can all be ready to respond to emergencies when they occur,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

But he warned that with early rains and storm already causing damage in the camps and the full monsoon due to start next month, urgent funding is required to allow more to be done to protect the Rohingya refugees. Less than a quarter of IOM’s USD 182 million appeal to support the refugees through year end has been secured.

“From medical staff to engineers, IOM teams are working round the clock to save lives in the camps and protect people as much as possible ahead of monsoon. If we have to delay projects, lives will be lost. We need funding now to be able to act before disaster strikes,” said Pereira.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Tel. +88 0 1733 335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

Vetiver grass, stored in floating bamboo holders, is being planted by IOM and partners to reduce soil erosion in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. Photo: IOM/Fiona MacGregor

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Launches Toll-Free Number for Venezuelans in Costa Rica

IOM - News - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 10:08

San José – A free telephone information service for Venezuelan migrants currently living in Costa Rica, 800-Venezuela, was launched this week by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with the support of the Costa Rican General Directorate of Migration (DGME) and the National Migration Council.

According to data from the DGME, 8,892 Venezuelans live in Costa Rica under a regular migration status. However, this figure does not include migrants who are in the country irregularly – which IOM estimates to be much higher.

To support decision making with accurate information and data analysis, IOM is adapting its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to determine the points of entry, exit and residence of Venezuelan migrants, and identify their vulnerabilities and required services.

"The 800-Venezuela toll-free service provides direct assistance to highly vulnerable Venezuelan migrants,” explained Francisco Furlani, project coordinator at IOM Costa Rica. “In collaboration with national government agencies, Venezuelan migrants are being linked with public institutions to facilitate their access to healthcare and other basic services. They also receive orientation on how to acquire microcredits and thus give them better opportunities for integration and development within the Costa Rican society."

Hernán Pico is one of the migrants who have received assistance through the hotline for Venezuelans in Costa Rica. He left his native Maracay, at the centre of Venezuela, in March 2017. In recent years, he had gone from being a prosperous businessman, producing and exporting sandals, to living solely on payments for home repair services. He was also having difficulties accessing medication (insulin) which is indispensable for him.

Pico decided to fly to Panama, and then moved by land to Costa Rica where he sought out a friend who lived in the town of Rio Frio. With information provided through the 800-Venezuela hotline, Hernán obtained a temporary work permit and is currently exploring options to regularize his residence in Costa Rica.

This toll-free number is one of the first actions in Costa Rica of the IOM Regional Action Plan to Strengthen Response to Venezuelan Outflows, which requires USD 32.3 million in funding to implement, and focuses on activities such as data collection and dissemination, capacity building and coordination, direct support and socio-economic integration.

For more Information, please contact Francisco Furlani at IOM Costa Rica, Tel: +506 2212 5300, Email ffurlani@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 - 15:58Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaDefault: Multimedia: 

Hernán, one of the migrants assisted through the toll-free number established by IOM to support Venezuelan migrants arriving in Costa Rica. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

IOM, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Host First Annual Diaspora Forum

IOM - News - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 10:08

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), are today (18/05) hosting the first Annual Diaspora Forum initiated by the Parliamentary Network on Diaspora Policies (PACE) at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The forum is dedicated to Diasporas as Partners for Development in the Globalized World.

The Forum focuses on the economic and development contributions of transnational communities in countries of origin and destination, and aims to address the importance of a global approach to migration governance. It will also shed light on ongoing discussions on diaspora within the Global Compact for Migration, which is expected to be adopted on 10 and 11 December 2018 in Morocco.

This year’s Annual Diaspora Forum brings together parliamentarians, businesses, diaspora associations, governments and international organizations to discuss the complex intersection between diaspora, migration, and development and its implications for countries of origin and destination.

The Forum will begin with opening addresses from William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General and Tomáš Boček, Special Representative on Migration and Refugees of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

“Knowing and understanding transnational communities is crucial to engaging them effectively, and developing the appropriate outreach strategies towards diaspora communities. That is why IOM regularly maps and surveys diaspora communities,” said DG Swing ahead of today’s event. “IOM has conducted some 150 surveys to assess the socioeconomic profile of diasporas and their willingness to contribute to the development of their countries of origin,” he added.

“The creation of the Parliamentary Network on Diaspora Policies represents a quantum leap in the way the Assembly approaches the question of how best to involve diasporas when seeking to improve the contribution of migrants to both countries of residence and of origin,” said Boček.

IOM implements a wide-range of diaspora engagement programmes, many of which are funded through the IOM Development Fund (IDF) at the request of Member States with large diaspora communities abroad. One example is the iDiaspora, a global engagement and knowledge exchange hub for diaspora communities and those looking to engage with them. It provides comprehensive, regularly updated data and analysis relevant to diaspora communities, policy makers, NGO actors, and showcases successful diaspora actions and partnerships.

For more information please contact:
Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email: jgalindo@iom.int
Nathalie Bargellini, PACE, Tel: +33 6 65 40 32 82, Email : nathalie.bargellini@coe.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 - 15:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Amb. William Lacy Swing gave his opening address at the first Annual Diaspora Forum. Photo: IOM/Jorge Galindo

More than 100 participants are gathered at the UN Office in Geneva to discuss the role of diasporas in development. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

New Engagement Opportunities for Albanian Diaspora in Italy

IOM - News - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 10:08

Lazio – Albanian diaspora individuals shall have more opportunities to contribute to the socio-economic development of Albania. The programme Engagement of Diaspora to the Social and Economic Development of the Country, is funded by the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development and implemented by IOM, the Migration Agency in Albania, in cooperation with the Albanian Government. It aims, inter alia, to create mechanisms to engage with students, professionals and entrepreneurs, in particular, those from the Albanian diaspora in Italy.

Today (18/05), the programme team from IOM Albania and programme partners met the Albanian Diaspora in Lazio region to present and discuss the programme activities. Students, professionals, entrepreneurs, Italian local authorities, representatives of Italian Category Associations and others actively participated in the discussion.

Talking to the Albanian Diaspora members, Manoela Lussi, the Diaspora Programme Manager at IOM Albania, emphasized the added value of this kind of innovative programme in line with the strategic approach centred on the 3Es for action (to enable, engage and empower Diaspora) formulated by IOM.

“Through this Programme you can bring a lot of positive changes to Albania,” she said. “Your participation in our activities can really make a difference in your home country. And for this reason, the Programme aims to support your engagement in the socio-economic development of Albania through the creation of three parallel processes,” she said.

Among the many activities in five selected Italian regions (Lazio, Tuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna), the programme plans to map diaspora individuals’ know-how and skills, then match them with the respective local needs and priorities in Albania. Furthermore, a fellowship scheme targeting diaspora will be designed and implemented during the three years of programme implementation.

The programme will also support investments from Italy to Albania through the creation of an investment-boosting platform named ConnectAlbania, which will rely on the role of diaspora as a development agent.

Business start-ups and spin-offs helmed by Albanians in Italy, especially second generation, will also be supported through the forthcoming start-up fund.

Around half a million Albanians live in Italy, with more than 11,000 young Albanians studying in Italian universities.

For more information, please contact Guri Daco at IOM Albania, Tel: +355 4 2257836 ext 206, Email: gdaco@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: AlbaniaDefault: Multimedia: 

Speakers at the Albanian Diaspora meeting in Lazio, Italy. Photo: IOM

Speakers at today's (18/5) Albanian Diaspora meeting in Lazio, Italy. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 26,026 in 2018; Deaths Reach 635

IOM - News - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 10:08
Language English

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 26,026 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 136 days of 2018, with about 41 per cent arriving in Italy and 38 per cent to Greece, with the remainder (21%) arriving in Spain.

This compares with 55,479 arrivals across the region through the same period last year and about 189,075 at this time in 2016.

In other words: Mediterranean arrivals at this point in 2018 are running at under half last year’s level on this date, and about 14 per cent of 2016’s volume at this point in the year.

 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo noted that the 10,659 migrants who are registered as having arrived by sea to Italy this year is 77 per cent less than that reported last year in the same period, when 45,785 irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Italy and a 67 per cent decline from the 32,292 arriving to this point in 2016 (see chart below).

IOM Rome also noted Tunisians represent the largest nationality group arriving in Italy by sea from North Africa this year, followed by Eritreans, Nigerians, Sudanese, Pakistan, Malians, Guineans and Senegalese – almost all of whose arrival numbers have fallen considerably below totals reported in the recent years (see chart below).




IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported on Thursday (17 May) that in the Mediterranean alone, 635 migrants are estimated to have died this year. Most recently, seven people lost their lives when trying to cross from Turkey to Greece. The Turkish Coast Guard reported that seven Afghan migrants, including three children, died when the boat in which they were trying to reach the Greek island of Lesvos capsized off the coast of Babakale, in Turkey’s province of Çanakkale, on 14 May.
This incident took place a day after the remains of nine migrants washed up on the shores of Northern Cyprus. Since the beginning of 2018, 35 people have lost their lives in the Eastern Mediterranean.
To date this year the 383 drownings on the Central Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Italy has been the region’s deadliest sea crossing, while 217 have died in the waters separating North Africa from Spain.
In Spanish waters, so far this year, IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday that a total of 1,392 migrants have been rescued on the Western Mediterranean route through 16 days in May – compared with 835 for the entire month of May last year. That brings to 5,792 the total number of men, women and children who have been rescued trying to enter Spain by sea this year, with an additional 1,822 seeking entry by land (see charts below). 

IOM Greece’s Kelly Namia reported Thursday that over the past three days, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Kos. The Coast Guard rescued 169 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

Namia reported that along with other landings on Lesvos and Leros another 67 migrants landed in the Aegean these four days bringing to 9,528 the total number of irregular migrants entering Greece via sea since January 1 – for an average of around 72 persons per day.

April saw 3,083 migrant arrivals via the Eastern Mediterranean. Already 1,263 irregular migrants have landed on these shores in May – just 12 days into the month (see charts below).

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,118 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018 (see chart below).

On the US-Mexico border, a man of unconfirmed nationality drowned in the Río Bravo near Matamoros, Mexico on 11 May. Two days after, on 13 May, the body of another migrant was recovered by Mexican civil protection authorities in the same area. At least 25 people have drowned in the Río Bravo this year.
In Europe, the remains of a 21-year-old Nigerian woman were found on 9 May in the Durance river, along the dangerous route from Italy to France that crosses the Alps.
Additionally, the MMP team recorded two other deaths on land routes in Europe: the IOM office in Croatia informed of the deaths of two migrants which took place at the end of April in the Kolpa and Korana rivers, on the border with Slovenia.
Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional Office for South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email: izakoska@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Email: mchabbi@iom.int

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 - 15:51Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: Press Room IOM